Here's something I've got no idea about. In the case where one party is married in a Baptist Church but divorced and the other party has no encumbrances. Barring quarrelsome arguments I can't answer concerning grounds for annulment, is the first party even required to do anything to prove that their first marriage is null and void?

2 Answers 2


Code of Canon Law Can. 1060 Marriage possesses the favor of law; therefore, in a case of doubt, the validity of a marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.

Thus the Church recognizes the marriages of non-Catholics as well and considers them valid until proven otherwise.

Answering assuming the party with no encumbrances is Catholic

  1. No marriage can occur until the marriage of the party previously married in the Baptist Church and now divorced is examined by the Church and a decree of nullity issued (i.e. in the eyes of the Church, that marriage never existed to begin with).

  2. Once that decree has been issued, the requirements for a mixed marriage must be met for there to be a valid marriage in the Catholic Church.


Why does the Catholic Church require an intended spouse, who is divorced but not Catholic, to obtain an annulment before marrying in the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church respects all marriages and presumes that they are valid. Thus, for example, it considers the marriages of two Protestant, Jewish, or even nonbelieving persons to be binding for life. The Church requires a declaration of nullity to establish that an essential element was missing in that previous union preventing it from being a valid marriage.

This is often a difficult and emotional issue. If the intended spouse comes from a faith tradition that accepts divorce and remarriage, it may be hard for them to understand why they must go through the Catholic tribunal process. Couples in this situation may find it helpful to talk with a priest or deacon. To go through the process can be a sign of great love of the non-Catholic for their intended spouse.

Source: Annulments | FOR YOUR MARRIAGE | An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Please see also: What are the stipulations for a mixed marriage to be valid in the Catholic Church?.

It is my belief that the following are also pertinent:

  • 1
    "If the intended spouse comes from a faith tradition that accepts divorce and remarriage," wouldn't it be very easy to get an annulment, since such a person would have great difficulty entering into what the Catholic Church considers a valid marriage? Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 14:51
  • @AndreasBlass Perhaps that's a good question in its own right. Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 15:14
  • @AndreasBlass Practical it is not necessarily easy as the churchs thinks everyone has its understanding of marriage if not otherwise proven. But there is theological discussion if this should hold in future (with future society in mind). It is a very good question.
    – K-HB
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 10:19
  • @AndreasBlass not necessarily. A religion might accept divorce to varying degrees but that doesn't mean that it thinks that all marriages should end in divorce or the individual didn't enter a marriage with that intent.
    – eques
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 17:29

I am Catholic, and my husband was divorced. They were married in a Baptist church, though his ex was Catholic. We had to get his 1st marriage annulled before we could marry in the church. They were teenagers when they got married, and it only lasted 3 years.

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    – agarza
    Commented Apr 30, 2021 at 3:27

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